Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Writing a Better Story

So, it is 2016.

For some time, I have been pondering writing a "New Year's post" or something deep and meaningful to mark the passage into a new year.

It seems trite. Contrived. So I didn't.

Last year-- which was, in most ways, very trying and challenging-- Sarah and I started talking about 2016 being "The Year We Become Better Writers." It was her idea, and we sort of adopted it. From time to time, we would use that saying interchangeably with "2016 is the Year We Write a Better Story."

How? Better than what?

The self-development and enlightenment business-- and even pop culture, these days-- uses a lot phrases like "we create our own reality."

Which-- from where I am sitting-- amounts to little more than a dressed up version of "choices have consequences" or "you reap what you sow."

I look around me in this world, and it seems to so often live by a paradigm of people either wanting to reap things they never sowed... or people who want to reap before they have sowed. We are really not very good "farmers" in our own lives, anymore... maybe our capitalist consumer society has done too good a job of teaching people to "party and enjoy NOW" and "do the work and pay later." I see this all the time, on forums and in groups of even "evolved" people.

Maybe my expectations are unrealistic; perhaps because I happen to be married to one of the few truly conscious people I have ever met...

But that's really a sidetrack... and not related to "Writing A Better Story," except (perhaps) as a cautionary statement about staying mindful of the intentions of the world around you.

Which brings me back to the whole Consciousness and Mindfulness business.

In order to write a Better Story for our lives, you have to know what that looks like. Simply saying "a better story" is little more than saying "I want to make more money next year!" At the end, you made $28,010 instead of $27,995 for the year... and voila, "goal accomplished," but was that actually what you wanted?

It's difficult to Write A Better Story without taking time to identify precisely what you want that story to be.

At least, if you don't, you expose yourself to the very likely possibility that your "story" isn't actually what you had in mind. Choices have consequences.

And you have to know what you truly like, and don't like... and what you're realistically willing-- and able-- to do to get from point A to point B.

Some would say "Yeah, but I have a pretty clear sense of what it would feel like, at the end!"

Whereas that may be true, there's a whole bunch of stuff that comes between "here" and "at the end." And you can't just ignore it.

"Yeah, but a benevolent Universe (or "God" or "The Force" or whatever) should know what makes me happy!"

In my 50-some years on this planet, I have never quite figured out what to do with such assertions... but they always have the feel-- to me-- of being a way of "passing off" accountability for our choices and actions to "something else," rather than being accountable for the fact that our action A results in outcome B.

Of course, I can only know what it's like to live in my shoes.

Some would say "you have to have faith!"


But tossing a handful of random seeds on a patch of dirt and then becoming all butt-hurt because they don't turn into the field of sunflowers you wanted... and then blaming "God" or "The Universe" for not giving you what you wanted... makes absolutely no sense to me.

Perhaps this all sounds very "Common Sense 101," but I find it remarkable how many expect "something" to come from "almost nothing," or from "something else."

So in order to Write a Better Story, we not only have to know what the story truly IS, we have to be willing to sit down and personally write all the chapters that make up that story. Could someone/something else write the story for us? Sure... but then we must live with the consequence that it might no longer be the story we wanted.

We have to do the work.

Consciousness and Mindfulness is a LOT of work! And maybe part of the reason it often seems like we don't get what we want (or hope for) is precisely that we "go to sleep" and allow external factors to not only disrupt our true story, but actually write the story for us.

And it just doesn't turn out well.

So, the Better Story for 2016 remains "under production," because first there must be a clearly defined plot. And then, there is lots and lots of writing to be done...